Are You Sure You Want Kids?

If you were unsure about having kids, let me tell you a story of what it’s like to have a three and a half year old and a five month old.

A couple of days ago, after I was finished with work, I went downstairs to start dinner. Chicken tacos were on the menu, and I put a few chicken breasts in my Instant Pot to get those going. When it came time to shred the chicken, I pulled each one out individually to do so.

Meanwhile, R was keeping herself busy and E was in one of those sit-and-stand toys in the kitchen, keeping herself occupied. R kept asking for “yellow cheese,” which really just means she wanted the Kraft singles that were in the fridge. I told her to wait, dinner would be done soon, but she got into the fridge anyway to grab her cheese.

Fine. Whatever. It’s not worth the fight.

She was on her third slice when she asked if she could go potty – because, no matter how often I tell her she doesn’t need permission, she always has to have my blessing before she uses it. I sent her away, telling her to go ahead and go potty. By then, E started crying, wanting out of her toy. I kept talking to try to distract her until I could finish with the chicken.

R came back into the kitchen a couple of minutes later, asking me about the potty. Then she said cheese. Specifically, it came out, “Cheese potty.” I knew immediately where this was going, yet I still found myself asking…

“What about the cheese and the potty? Did you throw your cheese into the toilet?”

No response from R. I set down my fork and my knife and headed around the corner to the bathroom, which is when E got really upset and wouldn’t calm down. Sure enough, there was the slice of cheese sitting at the top of the water. I sighed. “Why is your cheese in the potty?” I asked.

All R could do was ask me to get it out.

I explained that I couldn’t and tried to flush it, and the toilet was clogged. E was crying so hard that I knew I would need to come back to it in a minute, so I went back to the kitchen to grab her, and she had pooped – and it had gone halfway up her back. (No wonder she was crying!) I panicked for a minute, then went back to the toilet to quickly unclog it.

Then, I went back to clean up E a little so I could pick her up to take her upstairs for a change. R, upon realizing that her cheese was gone forever, began sobbing about the fact that the toilet had essentially eaten the cheese that she had intended to eat herself. There were tears. So, so many tears.

I got E cleaned up, gave her a bath, and put her down for a nap while R continued to be upset about cheese. “Cheese gone, Mom?” Yes, honey; the cheese is gone forever. That’s what happens when we throw it into the toilet.

Chaos. And this was an easy day.

So, just in case you were wondering, this is what parenthood is like.

Bedtime Buddies

We have our crib set up next to the bed with only three sides assembled, so the crib mattress is sort of an extension of our big mattress. This gives E her own space to sleep while still keeping her close enough to keep an eye on her and breastfeed her easily in the middle of the night. It works – and she sleeps like a rock most nights. I get a good three to four hours before she wakes up to feed most

She’s been cranky the last couple of days and has had trouble sleeping. After putting her to bed, I went downstairs to catch up on Game of Thrones. I thought she was sleeping almost too soundly given how she’s been acting the last couple of days. As it turns out, R had gotten out of bed and got on our bed to lay in my spot on the bed, next to where E was laying in the crib.

R is so incredibly jealous of E most of the time, and this warms my heart. I have no doubt that E is sleeping better tonight because R is laying with her. (She always sleeps better when I’m in bed too.)

I love them both so much.

I’m going to finish this episode of Game of Thrones and then head to bed. I’m not quite sure I have the heart to move R back into her room tonight. We’ll see.

The Transition

I’ve heard so many times that the transition from one to two children is the hardest, no matter how many kids you end up with. I think I finally believe those people. Having two kids is like trying to landscape your yard in the middle of a hurricane.

My day goes a little something like this…

E wakes up, then she’s changed and nursed. Sometime during that nursing session, R wakes up and demands breakfast. I ask her to be patient. She throws a tantrum. I set the baby in the crib to change R’s diaper (because she’s still so freaking resistant to potty training) and if I’m lucky, E will fall back to sleep, but usually all three of us head downstairs.

Once we’re downstairs, I put E in the swing and turn it on to distract her while I get R breakfast. By the time she’s got breakfast, E is crying and wants to be picked up. I pick her up and interact with her while R eats, and at some point, R asks for more food, usually after only eating about half of what I’ve given her. I ask her to finish what she has. Another meltdown.

I nurse E again and, if the stars align, she’ll let me put her in her swing so I can go about my day trying to get things done, like dishes, laundry, or whatever else has to be taken care of. My chores are usually interrupted by a toddler who wants my attention, so I spend some time with her, and then E wakes up crying for the boob once more. My day is spent mostly with trying to keep the baby happy, while the toddler throws constant tantrums because she’s still not used to sharing her time with me yet.

It’s hard. It’s both emotionally and physically draining at times. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I’m not the mom I want to be, but I’m trying so hard to be a good one to both my girls.

Some days, I feel like I’m trying to tread water with weights tied around my ankles and I’m so close to drowning.

Today was not a good day. R is recovering from an ear infection and E has been abnormally clingy too – maybe it’s a wonder week, maybe it’s a growth spurt, maybe she isn’t feeling great, I don’t know – so both kids needed me. R threw tantrums. E cried more than usual. I could have been more patient and more understanding, but today was hard.

Tomorrow will be better. I have hope that eventually, at some point, parenting two littles will become easier. Until then, I’ll just work to keep my head above water.